How to Display Art

“If the work is to be displayed at eye level. Who’s eye are we going by?”

If you have ever worried about rules for displaying artwork, you aren’t alone. It’s one of the most common questions we hear. 

Instead of being fearful of ‘getting it wrong’, my advice is to be playful and have the collection displayed to suit your individuality, just like your collection itself.

I have included client photos of their collections to see how you can vary and have fun with your displays.  

There are some basic guidelines, but they are meant to be adjusted according to the art and the space. Be free to variation for your specific needs.

One popular basic design guide prevents people from displaying work too high, a common mistake. This guide suggests displaying art 57 inches from floor level to centre of the work, which is the average human eye height.

I have never applied this guide, instead, I focus on the art itself first, it’s composition, size, light it requires, and where it will most be viewed from. For example, from sitting height, standing, or passing by in a hallway.

Next, I consider the room, and what the art will be in ‘relationship to’, such as  furnishings, windows, doorways, etc. Connection to these ‘relationships’ helps to bring cohesiveness to the room, and keep it from feeling stale or overly structured.

In an example below, I show how these two large paintings work together. Coloured lines show where the eye travels and how the sky ‘melds’. Normal rule dictation would indicate these paintings should be aligned either on the top or bottom of the pieces. This works better for ease of immersing into the work, and gives the a grounded feeling as you approach the work. Remember corners will give the illusion of unique perspective. 

Another example, my work shown with Audrey Banning’s painting completed at age 4. I love this little vibrant painting of hers showing excellent colour and composition. These two paintings have cohesiveness because of colour similarity and human elements, the canoe in my painting, and the house in Audrey’s. The yellow line shows how I have adjusted heights to pair the horizon lines in each piece.

I haven’t placed them evenly on the bottom, or on the top of the panels, instead I considered the composition and the lines within each piece, where the eye would automatically go.

The wood elements of Marc’s furnishings bring a sense of the earth and anchors this corner display. Shown with Al Pace pottery, stone carving by Jim, bowl by Michael, make a lovely combination of handcraft and art.

 Architectural digest conveys an excellent example of a multi collection that isn’t overbearing, and ideas on how to display unframed work. See the link here

With your gathered knowledge you can orchestrate your experience with the art and how you engage with it in your spaces.

New on the easel below ~ Sunset 8×10 oil on board $550.oo

Creative Conditioning Movement, Mediums & Surfaces

In the last year, I have been wrestling with internal and practical dilemmas. During challenging times, healthy business practice suggests implementing change, either in practice or career. It’s also wise to refrain from investing in supplies and creating with plenty of inventory available. 

If I returned to painting, I’ve thought about how it would unfold. Conclusions focus on feel more than visual concept. It’s always been my mission to improve with each canvas, but a return would require change in work, methods, perhaps genres and mediums. 

The work needs to be current, unique, and relevant in a competitive market, fragile from world circumstance. 

Resurgence needs to be brave.

Desire is to produce a series of work that taps into emotional strength, and simplicity in design.

Playful, loose texture that challenges rigidness of concept.

I began by creating small compositions experimenting with paint on paper, paper canvas, and canvas, testing acrylics, water mixable oils, and heavy body acrylics, or combining all three. It’s sparked ideas making the transition back exciting and bold. 

Every medium is unique, colour palettes differ from each other, how they mix, and respond to surfaces. Process is all about exploring medium behaviours and how to make them do what I want them to. It’s also a physical and creative challenge. In order to limit tightness of shoulders and brushstroke, posture needs to be relaxed.

In order to achieve this, I set into motion several goals. Physical activity before painting specifically to free up posture, creativity, and build confidence. Paint without reading glasses to prevent fussiness in detail. Work on two easels at once in two different mediums. It’s super challenging, and speeds up evolution to high quality work. It’s a kind of creative conditioning similar to athletics.

With two active easels, I move from one medium to another, with time limits on each. With strict rules to not fix mistakes, I carry on to the next paper or canvas. 

A recent project requirement is practice in plien air, so smaller work needs to have that quick study feel. The tiny 10 min paintings are rough, freeing and humbling. 

The work in acrylic and raw sketches transfer to the work in oil, giving it a fresh uninhibited quality. The energy produced is happily bouncing around the walls of my new workstation. Hope you can feel it too.

“Path to the Sea” 8×10 oil Commission/ SOLD


Please email to comment or purchase original work. Thanks! d

The Art Event

Unlike high def  TV or photography, we don’t see our surroundings in sharp detail at all times. 

Direct field of vision focuses on where attention is necessary and what captures interest, preventing information overload.

External stimuli is constantly changing with light, weather, sound, etc. Eyesight ability, perception of colour, shape, contrast, light, colour, and experience all play a part in how we interpret our environment. 

Perceptions of surroundings form while censoring information that isn’t necessary. 

This is why I feel painting can mimic the feeling of being immersed in a scene that is unique from photography.

This kind of experience can be created by applying soft edges and clear focal points. Impasto ( directional & thick)  brushstrokes offer a sense of movement. Blurred negative spaces give the eye an opportunity to rest.  Artists can diffuse the ‘noise of a scene’, giving the viewer space to be absorbed, feeling as thou they are participating and moving within the landscape.

Art becomes an event. 

A photo may capture a “still” moment in time. A painting may reach for time in “transition.” A fleeting sense of light and evolution can be expressed in 3 dimension with paint layering. “Good art” doesn’t necessarily mimic photography. Good art offers experience.

Even hyper realist painters purposefully direct the viewer, and include areas for the eyes to rest. 

 Viewing an original painting in different light, times of day, it will evolve, and change before your eyes. This is where it separates itself from flat prints lacking dimension. Without the boundary of reflective glass, it can be displayed where it will capture and express light.

Safely viewing original art in person, whether it be in museums, galleries or art studios, instead of asking what it looks like, observe where it leads you, and how you feel. 

“Good art is not what it looks like, but what it does to us.”Roy Adzak

“My art’s more than art imitating life, it’s art mirroring life.” Robin Antar

P. S.

The SKY painting has created alot of buzz on social media recently. A late afternoon summer day, the time of day created darker shadows in the sky, surprisingly, no rain. The work invites you to explore light, transparency and direction. You can watch the light change within the painting in your space, as you see in the photo. It will evolve from brilliant, to dusk, to a moonlit feel. It was super challenging to paint. I wanted to include the geometric feel in composition. Triangular shapes balance the strong central focal. It is painted in a more realistic design to balance the singular composition. Trees at the bottom are meant only to provide you a sense of where you are in the space and offer a sense of grounding. There is plenty of texture, so it isn’t at true departure of my usual work. I don’t consider myself a ‘style’ painter, rather I adjust what the scene calls for. In this instance it required fine balance of softness and strength. 3 ft x 4 ft original oil $4,780.oo

Two more paintings gathering great response recently on social media are:

“Rising Sun” ( Canoe)  16×20 $1,130.oo

And “ Mist” 30×40 $3,200.oo   Both paintings invite the viewer to participate in the landscape in unique ways, boldly and softly, all are welcome.

Moving Forward

Morning run August 2/2021

“You don’t have to have it all figured out to move forward.” R. Bennett.

What’s new with you and how is life where you are?

In the last few months, I have moved two households in two different provinces. 

During the month of May I worked on house renovations in preparations for selling our home. The unexpected call to move Dad came an hour after selling our home. I arrived in Saskatchewan 6 days later. With quarantine and covid protocols, I was gone for 5 weeks.

Privileged to assist my Dad with his transition to a nursing home in Saskatchewan, it was interesting to see his selections of things to keep. What we surround ourselves with, especially in our winter years, downsizing for the last time in life, is telling. What do we value, and what brings a sense of comfort, of home? His choices were his true loves. Family photos, cards & letters, music, his guitar, books and art. He easily let go of the rest.

Dad ~July 2021

“The pictures really make it home” nurse Maya said. In full agreement, I feel they are a crucial part to our well being. Pictures are the first impression when we enter a room. They create our views, and set the tone of feeling in a room like nothing else can. 

Original Art- Dawn, Woodwork Marc

 It’s in our nature to scan perimeters when first entering a space. A internal survival instinct has us seeking the room for threats and nourishment. We automatically look for for natural light, for windows and exits. Initial focus isn’t furnishings, floors, or fixtures, we look at the walls.

Art ~ Dawn Banning~ Photo Bryan Mierau ~ Woodwork Marc Banning

 Art can create a powerful emotional impact offering comfort, sanctuary, a feeling of safety. “Views” of nature are crucial to our health, and in last stages of life, I discovered this is what many choose as their most valuable possessions. Walking the halls adorned in beautiful nature art of Dad’s new home, personal rooms reflected more nature views in paintings, among family photos and plants.

In times of chaos and disruption, we need familiar natural views to help bring a sense of calm in the storm.

Like my Dad, I too, have downsized considerably. We moved from our home to a rented townhouse,  in anticipation of eventually building a home. We chose our selections of what to keep carefully. It is such a good exercise in letting go, and discovering what matters.

These recent transitions are not without a sense of loss. Letting go of the last things in my parents home is an emotional experience on many levels. Donating much and sharing with those in need honoured my parents legacy of generosity.

Packing Dad’s home June 2021

I arrived in Ontario two weeks ago straight into our own move.

In my own home, letting go of things wasn’t as difficult as saying goodbye to my studio. It’s always been more than a room to me, built with love by Marc. I felt more of a sense of home, than any other room in the house. I am so grateful to have cherished and made use of this amazing place.

Lack of my own studio space, brings an odd feeling of being untethered. This too, holds great lessons in how I move forward. Growth and change can be uncomfortable, but also beautifully freeing.

It has been months since I picked up a brush to paint. It will take time to find a creative space physically, and emotionally. It’s time for rest and renewal.

August 2021 Morning ride

With storage full of original art, it’s not entirely feasible to create more until the current work sells. So thankfully, there is no rush to dive in without contemplation and restoring energy first.

Questions of value and how I am best of service to you, what that work looks like in the future, swirl in my mind and heart as I move forward.

Do I maintain a lifetime pursuit of excellence in art, in order to share with the world, or will that be a private endeavour from now on? Do I reinvent, or change careers like many artists affected by the pandemic? Will it be enough to enjoy other ways to expand and explore my creative skills?

Ideas have been percolating as I pack boxes and paints. I’ll share more of this in the future. 

In the meantime, if you are considering owning an original, please get in touch, I have a great selection of work available.

Your views await.

~ Dawn

Introducing Joy

8×10 original oil paintings $550.oo each

“Having your paintings in our home has brought us so much joy. It’s changed how we feel in our daily lives.”

Being at home full time has changed the way people design, decorate and live in their dwellings. It’s put an emphasis on quality of life in a new way.

A budget friendly way to introduce joy into your life can begin with small, but powerful little original treasures. These 8×10 and 9×12 paintings can be displayed in groupings, or salon style with larger pieces. They are small enough to be displayed upon easels on shelves, or beefed up with large chunky frames.

Versatility is part of the charm of these little paintings.

If you are new to collecting, or adding to your current one, I’d love to assist you on your journey to become a part of this happy family. Email me to begin.


I aspire to be able to paint until I take my last breath, which I hope is very long time from now. It’s also my desire to ride a bike, run, hoist a kettlebell, climb stairs and carry my own groceries until that day. 

Hope is not enough. Aside from what is beyond my control, these intentions require daily action and accountability. They need practice. 

While navigating options how to continue an art career in challenging times, my creative skills still need attention and practice. Instead of investing in supplies when I have a studio filled with available paintings for sale, there are other ways to keep my skills alive. Recently I collected a favourite painting off the wall, put it on the easel and made something new. It’s a joy to squeeze paint. It’s absolute pure delight, in motion, light and life.

On the business front, there is a sense of waiting. Some Collectors prefer to view art in person. That’s hard to do when our studio business doors remain closed. Like many small business’s, some professional creatives may not be able to open their doors again. 

Technology, a necessary and welcome tool, is at the forefront in world circumstance. Many have needed to purchase and sell goods online more than we ever could have imagined. Groceries, clothing, household items, furniture and art.

Importer warehouse companies are making billions with that need in mind, focusing on convenience. 

One article on a familiar e-commerce goods company stated factory warehouse items, ( including furniture and art) is “ for people who don’t know, or don’t care who manufactured it.” A company spokesperson said “ an automated algorithm changes the price in real time, adjusting on shipping, availability, etc….. it’s standard.”

Their ‘brand’ of items are not made by, but “curated” by them. Consumers are perhaps unknowingly led by algorithms and dictated “collections.” 

Peppy commercials flood the media, showing a family ordering couches, tables, lighting, art with the click of a button from a storyboard of curated items. The branded boxes arrive doorstep moments later. The family is suddenly transported from old couch to new.

The basis of this selling is on convenience, not quality, originality, or craftsmanship. Some top interior designers prompting the products may fail to include unique one of a kind items in their designs which celebrate a client’s individuality.

I have discovered the best architects, interior curators and designers guide and encourage rather than dictate. Their professional insight enhances a client’s individuality and originality in personal items are celebrated. 

Architect Michael Shocrylas of Sho-Arc Bureau of Architecture is a prime example of this kind of expertise. (

“The entire process involves his intuitive ear to not only listen but to unravel what a client actually means. ….“For a film a set, you analyze the character and you imagine what they would have and what they would live in,” says Shocrylas. “But for a client, you ask them and you help them decide on the life they most desire. For me, it’s about preparing spaces to improve their lives and make it more efficient and more enjoyable.”  

New “Horizon” 5 feet x 3.3 feet $6,500.oo

Offering hard earned money for anything, with any budget, doesn’t have to be a mindless act. Some do care about what they bring into their private sanctuaries, and find joy in the selection process. 

Online purchasing convenience does not have to lack quality, or fine craftsmanship. 

Craftsman Marc Banning with his handmade Boggs chair.

Purchasing in itself, can be an experience. Small business’s are engaging audiences online and building customer relationships with specialty goods and great service. 

Available original 8×10’s $550.oo each.

Weather it be textiles, furniture, homemade soup, handmade tea towels, soap, or art, there is an abundance of amazing, sustainable, original goods made with love by creators.

A few artisan small business recommendations, (most have wonderful Instagram & websites well worth following) 


Fine Furniture~ Marc Banning ( of course!)

Furniture ~ Flo Hardwoods

Reclaimed wood artist  Craig Forget

Wool :  Wool Stone Prairie

Textiles : Kellie Frances @kellie_frances 

Glass: Soffi Lighting

Wildlife Paintings : Julia Hargreaves

Watercolour paintings: Nancy Bauer

Local Craft Market:  Urban Market

Last autumn, new clients arrived for  ‘safe pick up’ of their first original painting. “We love your work and are excited to include it in our home!!“You have made this entire experience delightful, it’s been a treat to meet you. We especially like knowing you listen to vinyl and are a runner. We too, have a commitment to timeless quality and healthy living.”


Silver Lining

When my dealer contacted me in January to dissolve our working relationship, it wasn’t from ill will. He hadn’t sold a painting since last March. It’s a business decision I completely understand. A career in this industry is created with a lot of hard work. I know the challenge dealers face, because I face the same ones every day. In order to make it work, it’s been necessary for me to create, promote, and sell the work on my own, aside from any assistance from galleries.

These are unique times, many artists are finding themselves now flying solo without representation and lack of clients. With some galleries closing, and studio visitors prohibited due to health code, artists are faced with challenging times.

Creating quality work and being innovative can help influence success. Establishing more pronounced online presence, is perhaps, the only way to reach, communicate and transact with our clients in these times.

The silver lining resides in this learning curve and exploring new opportunities. It’s encouraged artists to collaborate, to have necessary dialogue on how to move forward in an ever changing landscape on how we do business. 

For me, desire has always been to move forward with a critical eye at my work, committing to serve clients, evolve the work and the way I promote. While evolution can be challenging, promotion can be painful. Art is deeply personal endeavour, it can feel not only uncomfortable to self promote, but challenging to do so in a way that feels and is authentic.

In my career I have been fortunate to have met and engaged with many of you. I have sourced opportunities from exhibiting and selling at galleries across Canada, to painting murals on spa walls, shipping containers and creating original landscapes for a private golf club. I have displayed work in cafes, libraries, and attended art fairs, and had the trip of a lifetime on the boreal expedition. 

The work has been acquired into some of the most prestigious collections in the world, including the Shurniak collection, where it resides alongside originals of the the ironic greats, the Group of Seven,  Alan C. Collier, Nicholas de Grandmaison, James Henderson, Doris McCarthy, Franklin Arbuckle, Robert Genn, Jeannette Perreault, Goodridge Roberts, Ross Penhall, Allen Sapp, Arthur Schilling and International work by Bernard Cathelin (France), Jacob Esselens (Holland), Phillipe Ancellin (France), Carlos Nadal (Spain), Archie Forrest (Scotland), Athos Faccincani (Italy).

I have supported great causes with the work, donating my art to youth hostels, hospitals, conservation fundraising, music festivals, and worked with some of the best art dealers and architects in the country. 

Health clinic clients send word of the positive experience the art creates for their patients and staff. 

To help assist people with their personal creative pursuits, I wrote and published an ebook. It’s available for free on my website. 

This blog is in response to your requests for narrative, to answer your questions, provide glimpses of the industry, and life parallels tied with the common thread. 

It’s been an absolute joy to have this communication with you over the years. In your request to ‘get to know the artist’ we have gotten to know each other. My commitments remained as the first day, for the posts to be available for free, and advertising free. I hope it’s served it’s purpose, unveiling work, educating, and creating conversation. 

Focused on how to be of service in new ways this past year, I have devoted creative juice to both painting and writing. A book has emerged. It’s filled with inspiring stories and tips on how to manifest your inspiration, applying it to your ambitions in life, whatever they may be. The book has just completed the editing stage, awaiting publishing exploration.

I am not sure what is next, how/ if I continue a career journey with paint and canvas. 

This new painting is the last canvas I have available in stock.( aside from one private project) I had so many ideas for it, it was difficult to decide. Striving to learn with each piece I create, I chose a challenging composition in a unique vertical format. Subject matter feels appropriate, “Cloud with a Silver Lining.” 

Thanks for listening, and to those of you who have continued to invite art into your lives. Sending you all healthy happy wishes. Always.

in gratitude, d.

See website gallery link for all available work for purchase and feel free to contact me anytime. All work shown is available for purchase.

“Water” 22×28 original oil on canvas $1,800.oo

“Sky” 3 ft x 4ft original oil on canvas $4,780.oo

“Cloud with Silver Lining” 12×24 original oil on canvas $1,100.oo

World Offerings

The first time I saw Kafka’s quote, it was displayed on the wall in my client’s clutter free office. Obviously of personal significance, I asked what the quote meant to him. Why did he have it displayed where it would be a daily reminder?

He spoke of how much can be missed in every day hurried lives. “We are driven so much to ‘do’ to achieve. We often miss the beauty before us in daily wonders. We forget to just be still and witness.”

You need not leave your room.

Remain sitting at your table and listen.

You need not even listen, simply wait.

You need not even wait, just learn to be quiet

And still and solitary.

The world will freely offer itself to you

To be unmasked. It has no choice;

It will roll in ecstasy at your feet.

Franz Kafka


We have not left our rooms, literally and figuratively for awhile now. This passage always offers a sense of comfort to me. Recognizing beauty in the quiet spaces is grounding and fuels the spirit.   

How could we ever be bored when the sky above changes in fleeting moments before us, offering unique and different views every single day? I am ceaselessly amazed, moment to moment, watching it unfold. 

Both of these new sky paintings are moments in the quiet spaces. A picnic at dusk, listening to waves kiss the shore while clouds soared above in golden shimmering light. 

My sunrise runs in the crisp air of winter. Bearing witness to dramatic swaths of colour blazing across the sky, while deer slept in deep pockets of snow nearby. 

The world will freely offer itself to you

To be unmasked. It has no choice;

It will roll in ecstasy at your feet.

Franz Kafka

                                              New Work

“Star” 18×24 original oil $1,330.oo

“Sunset Glow” 20×30 original oil

Foundations: New video & Work

 Creativity can emerge in bursts of bright energy, flowing from fingertips like water. These instances are rare. Sometimes its in brief whispers you strain to hear.. and others, it is a continuous, rather painful slog fest.  

 Every painting is a mixture of vision, problem solving, emotion and skill. 

The professionals all have scrap piles. It’s part of the process. How we feel about those scrap piles can have as much effect on our growth as evolving skills. 

If it feels like a heap of failure, growth stalls.  We learn from unsuccessful work. 

Problem solving can be done with the brush, or a different activity can spark creative solutions. We can put it aside look upon it with fresh eyes in a month, or a year. Sometimes it’s destined for the trash, and other times, it can become something new.

When culling work, I enfold the ones I can. I sand them down, thank them for their little gifts, and begin again. 

It’s such a wonderful parallel in life, embracing our supposed imperfections alongside desire to improve. 

There is much joy in evolving, becoming the person we can be proud of, healthier, more compassionate, better in our relationships and work. 

Yet, if we are driving with need to constantly improve, chasing perfection without being gentle with our shortcomings, then we are driving with an unsettling force to a finish line we will never meet. We will not always say or do the right thing, or achieve a personal best, a masterpiece every time.

Growth matures when we embrace humanity in ourselves and our attempts. They are part of our foundation. We are built on the cracked and the solid.

This new painting comes from the foundation of another, and it’s gifts made it more successful than if I had begun anew.

My intention before I began, was it would be deeply personal, from a place and time that was transcending. I wouldn’t fuss with detail, or worry about end result. For the first time, I didn’t have the thought it was destined for someone else. I let myself become totally absorbed by my experience in this moment in life, in that connection.

It was freeing. ~

(see the live studio version of this post here)

Advice from an Art Appraiser

When Fine Art Appraiser Mandy Salter addressed the room, her first key element of advice may have surprised collectors and the curious. Sitting in the audience, I thought her advice rang true and consistent with any Fine art dealer, appraiser, and professional consultant I engaged with.

“Buy what you love.” You don’t need to understand art, to love it. You don’t need to justify your purchases to anyone.

It’s really that simple. All you need is love.

( Today’s studio video link above. If link does not appear in email, please click to web news link to see full video).

I ‘d love to be a part of your joyful collecting experience and assist in any way I can. Please feel free to email or call, and see my gallery page for available work.

My studio & home is filled with original work waiting to for a home and waiting to make your heart sing.

~ With Gratitude, Collectors photos above ~